In the 1950s there was increasing interest and public awareness of the link between dietary intake and coronary disease. As public interest in this subject area increased certain entities in the food industries in the United Stated began to develop strategies to deal with the public opinion of their own industries. One of the biggest industries of the time, and one of the biggest industries/interests today is the sugar industry. A group that served as the lobby for the sugar industry, the Sugar Research Foundation (SRF) had an enormous impact on the research and therefore control of public opinion of the sugar industry. Recently it has been discovered that internal documents reveal that the research practices of the Sugar Research Foundation acted in a blatantly unethical manner and manipulated research to ensure the financial health of the sugar industry.
The question regarding dietary links to coronary diseases during the 1950s and continuing to present day is which dietary component, sugar or dietary fat, contributes to coronary diseases to a greater degree. As any member of the public who has been taken health class in school can attest to the fact that the villain most often blamed for coronary disease is dietary fat. Fat consumption has become something to be feared. In an effort to reduce fear and provide consumers with dietary choices that do not feed into this fear the food industry must not only reduce fat levels in their foods but also ensure the foods offered taste good. The flavor contributed to food by fat needed to be replaced by something that was equally enticing. Enter sugar. The sugar industry spent vast amounts of money on research to ensure that fat was labeled the c...
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...havior. Unlike so many of the situations presented during this class, there is no gray area presented by this situation. Legitimate studies were criticized, researchers were associated with the SRF, which presented a clear conflict of interest, and as always where money is involved, ethics are often overlooked as a means to an end. Through the discovery of internal documents which revealed that the research practices of the Sugar Research Foundation were blatantly unethical and manipulated research to ensure the financial health of the sugar industry, we have been presented with a clear cut example of unethical behavior that can be agreed upon by the majority of rational members of society. The most unfortunate outcome of this mishandling of ethical behavior could be the deterioration of the coronary health of millions who relied on the truthfulness of this research.
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